“It says right across your forehead, integrity for sale,” isn’t just a catchy lyric found on a Nickelback CD – it’s a reflection of our times. It’s also a cringe-worthy cultural truth we are constantly being forced to face by those who, whether intentionally or not, take the public stage hostage and use it as a platform to show the world just how despicable and stupid a human being can be.
For us Canadians, though, up until recently this cultural pain was felt for the most part vicariously through our neighbors to the south – those psychotic, gun-slinging, fast food, evolution-denying, creationist, Walmart-Americans with their bizarre, over-the-top celebrity worship and cartoon politics.
But then the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, and his long suffering wife, Renata, came along like a counter-superhero with his cunnilingus-receiving sidekick to ruin the day and obliterate any smugness Canadians might have been harbouring regarding their superior level-headedness and decorum.
He is Rob Ford! The Apologizing Man! His special anti-power is his insincere-sincere apology…sincerely.
It would seem he never leaves his house without an apology in his right pocket and a crack pipe in his left. He keeps his Special-Shield-Apology-Badge with him at all times for those inevitable occasions when he needs to apologize, like when he’s caught in a drunken stupor while jay-walking or toking on a crack pipe while planning the demise of one of his many enemies.
When he’s caught – which he always is – he whips out his badge with an unsteady hand, immediately staggers to his knees and offers up an apology after the fact the way a praying man offers up prayers of thanks. The difference, however, is that unlike the praying man, Rob, the Apologizing Man, falls to his knees because he is weak in more ways than one and letting empty contrition drool out of his mouth requires a lot less effort than being accountable.
Basically, this privileged, undisciplined goofball and his equally ridiculous wife have made deals with the devil – albeit a Looney Tunes Tasmanian one – in which integrity has been exchanged for addiction and all the corruption and soul-erosion that goes hand-in-hand with the kind of self-indulgent substance and food abuse Rob Ford enjoys.
Actually, I’m not sure if Robby Boy, whose denial is so great he refers to himself in third person because he cannot bear to accept the buffoon that he is in first person, ever had any integrity to begin with. But if he did, he lost it along with the definition of “sincerely”.
He has made so many public apologies using the word “sincerely”, when clearly he is NOT sincere, that one has to wonder if he has dyslexia in addition to his other glaring problems.
It is as if he believes the word “sorry” literally works like a delete key and that its mere utterance completely erases deplorable behavior, as if the behavior never happened in the first place. He has convinced himself of this so thoroughly that he actually becomes quite offended when asked by reporters and others to explain himself.
He doesn’t understand what the controversy is all about. As far as he’s concerned, he might be a man who likes to have a good time outside of his job, but so what – who doesn’t? And sure, he’s “a little rough around the edges”, but he’s also a man who “calls a spade a spade” and has never missed a day of work.
He also has NEVER taken advantage of the free zoo pass to which he is entitled as a council member and is quite pleased with this apparent self-sacrifice. Indeed, he thinks it is a DISGRACE other counsellors would waste taxpayer dollars by taking advantage of ANY of the varied perks allowed them – Rob Ford, for one, would NEVER rip off the electorate in such a blatantly unfair way.
While other counsellors are living large with free metro passes, for example, Mayor Ford resigns himself to blasting around in his own gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalade using fuel he pays for himself. He furthermore has apologized REPEATEDLY and that should be good enough. Geesh. He’s only human. What do people want from him?
Watching any one of Rob Ford’s apologies, preposterous rationalizations and deep affronts is the funniest thing ever seen on Canadian news. He has turned the news hours into Late Night with Ford Nation. It is awesome.
Well, let’s not get carried away here – it’s awesome if you’re an absurdist, not so awesome if you’re a proud and informed Canadian citizen. I’m sure it’s also not so awesome if your name is Renata Ford or if you refer to Mayor Rob Ford as “daddy”.
I nevertheless cannot wait to see what haphazard feat The Apologizing Man next stumbles over and the weird apology that is SURE to follow…sincerely.